Q&A Tuesday: Treehouses, WiFi, CAE & PLM – oh my

Feb 23, 2016 | Hot Topics

People find the Schnitger Corp. website in all sorts of ways, looking for a lot of different information. [Did you know we now have over 1,000 blog posts with maybe a million words — yikes.] Here are a couple of search terms that led people to this website and I need your help to get them answers:

How to make a treehouse using GD&T

I was a city kid, so the closest my friends and I came to having a treehouse was pretending that our monkey bars were the Starship Enterprise (TOS). I was often Captain Spock even though I wasn’t allowed to watch the show (long story). We had fun landing on all sorts of planets … I have no real treehouse experience, I’m afraid.

Maybe I can help with the GD&T part of the question, though: GD&T stands for Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing. It’s a disciplined approach to making sure that what you’re building meets its specs. In the case of a treehouse, I would imagine, it’s about making sure the floor is level, the vertical components plum. But after that, I’m mystified.

If you can help with GD&T on a treehouse, please leave a comment below. We could help make a kid somewhere very happy!

2015 Navy ship WiFi problem

An interesting question, since many military objects try not to have hackable components like WiFi. When my nephew was in the Army, all of his digital objects had to be plugged in via cable or run on a cell signal — a problem when not near land. [I believe there were also tethered shared laptops for soldiers who didn’t have their own.] I’ve been at naval architecture symposia on military ship design (Navy, Coast Guard, Marines) where keeping electronics modern and secure has been a big topic. It’s difficult because of security concerns, space limitations, the decades of service many of these ships see and the rapid pace of change in the electronic aspects of communication and warfare. So I’m not sure what the question is asking, but am pretty sure of the answer: no WiFi on naval ships. If you know differently, and if there was a problem with it in 2015, please share in the comments.

And here are some other interesting searches that deserve a bit of comment:

Autodesk ANSYS

Autodesk and ANSYS are increasingly mentioned in the same breath these days as ANSYS gets into CAD with SpaceClaim and Autodesk gets into more and more CAE areas with its acquisition strategy. But they are fundamentally different, and targeted at different audiences.

Autodesk today offers a variety of types of simulation, from structural to mechanical to CFD, packaged in several different ways: standalone, embedded into a CAD workflow or completely integrated with CAD, as in Fusion 360. Its mission seems to be to make CAE more accessible to more people, and to have products for the most common needs of its user base, even if those are casual users.

ANSYS offers a broader scope in terms of physics and application areas, and is targeted at some CAD users but also at experts and those whose titles include simulation specialties. You could consider ANSYS deeper, and Autodesk broader, if you need to compare.

Will Autodesk acquire ANSYS, or will ANSYS acquire Autodesk? I don’t see it. Both have huge valuations, so this would be a big money deal at a tie when those aren’t very popular. Too, they have some overlap and regulators might not approve of the idea because a combination might reduce competition. I have been wrong before, though …

PLM hot?

Yes. Definitely. Depending on what you’re trying to do, a PLM implementation today can be (relatively) simple and quick and show real, immediate benefit. We’re seeing tremendous advancement in what PLM is actually about, as it expands into operations with IoT efforts, into basic science with materials like composites and processes to test blanks, and many other areas. We’re seeing new users, as smaller companies want to better manage their IP assets to take advantage of reuse to jumpstart innovation cycles and as companies of all sizes use PLM platforms to serve information out to non-CAD people in marketing, services, and beyond. Yup, PLM is definitely hot.